I have two elderly parents that live 2 miles down the road from me. My dad is basically bed bound. He cannot walk, cannot do anything without extreme assistance, he has a catheter, wears a diaper. but his mind is still good. My mother is ok, but cannot take care of my father alone without help. She is overly dramatic about everything in life -- has been since I was a child. She is a hypochondriac and I don't particularly like her. I have been a stay home mom for 22 years. My youngest child is a senior in high school and my oldest lives out of town and has a job, my middle child is in college out of town. my youngest will be going to the same college next year as her sister out of town. I have been waiting for 22 years for my life to start.

I am the oldest child and my husband is the oldest child in his family. We are both of course overly responsible and have been the children our parents could count on for our whole lives. My brother and my sister live in town with my parents. My brother helps out partially, my sister lives on the other side of town not convienent to my folks house and both of them work. I don't work. I get lots of phone calls from my parents. I have workers over there, but I am the one who pays their bills, takes them to doctors appointments, goes to the grocery store for them.

I am SICK to death of it. I CANNOT take it anymore. I just freak out everytime the phone rings because I just DO NOT want to be responsible for them at all anymore. My parents have done nothing for me since I have been 20 years old and I got married to my husband that I am still married to. We have never borrowed money, never had to live with them, never needed them to cosign on a loan, They barely even babysat for me because I pretty much gave up my entire life to devout to being a mother. I have a great relationship with all my kids and am truly grateful that I was lucky enough to have a husband that worked hard to take care of us so that I was allowed to be a full time wife and mom.

But, I have been waiting for my kids to get grown up so that I would finally have MY LIFE. And now my parents need help. I don't really like them. They don't really know that because I have always been a good daughter and showed them respect even though I don't agree with them on most things.

But, I feel like I am going to have a nervous breakdown because I just don't want to have to be responsible for them. This causes lots of problems in my marriage. My husband gets mad when I get called to go get them food when their workers aren't over there. It is always when my family is home or my husband is home from work. We get in a lot of arguements that I am so sick of having because I love my husband and my kids more than life itself. i want to be able to go and visit my son who lives out of town and go and see my daughters at college.

What I really want is to run away from home. I want to pack all my stuff and leave this town and reclaim my life for me and my husband. I want us to not have to deal with any old people. both of his parents are also alive but are younger than my parents because my parents were old when they got started with a family. I am 47 and my dad is 81 and my mother is 77.

But I cannot run away because my husband is self employed and has a good business here that we need to help get our last two kids through college. He gets angry when I say I want to run away because he has worked for 25 years and says he shouldn't have to give up his livelihood because of them. Which is true.

I guess I want to know how to remove myself even further from the situation. I feel very guilty like I should be helping them. I don't know why. I don't know how to extract myself from the situation more than I already have. I keep telling him that we need to have a talk with them to tell them how I feel and how it is ruining our marriage and our life. He tells me he will talk to them but that I have to be prepared for him to say everything how he really feels.

I just feel like if something different doesn't happen that I am really going to lose my mind. I don't know how to resolve the issue between the two of us. I want him to be happy with me not angry at me all the time. I want us to start being a couple again and since our role has been mainly as parents and we haven't really worked on our marriage like we should have over the last 22 years since we have had kids. We basically put ourselves on the back burner for them and I am really tired of being on the back burner of my life. I deserve some freedom and happiness.

I don't know why I posted. I just needed to vent to other people who understand because they are dealing with selfish, demanding parents also. I just feel so despondent most of the time. I just want to control my life instead of my life being lived in servitude to other people.


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What you need is the courage to tell your parents you can only do so much and how often. Your husband is frustrated by your lack of standing up for yourself with your parents demands. The last thing you need is having your husband tell your parents how you feel. You managed to raise 3 successful children. Fear, obligation and guilt toward your parents should not get in your way of being happy. Be strong and take back your life. Good luck!

Agree with all previous posts and yes, you need to find yoursrlf a therapist/counselor to help you sort some of this out. Like why you think that your husband should talk to your really do need to be the one who sets boundaries with your family. Dividing up the jobs that need to be done can be either by days of the week or by having each person take on what they are good at, finance, medical liason, etc. Have you considered a geriatric care manager? How long is your mom going to be able to manage at home with your bedbound dad, even with h help?

Also, get your mother to keep a list of what needs to be done, scheduled, etc. This way one of you might be able to limit to one phone call a week to set up maintenance work, bill paying, scheduling dr visits. You could simply have her billssent to you, put the regular ones on auto pay. And if mom says oh no, I don'twant to do that, point her to another siblingbto manage this stuff. You are not a doormat!

I agree with the others. It seems your siblings are willing to help out so have a meeting with them and tell them what you can do to help out your parents. I also agree that it should be you alone that talks with your parents.

Hopefully you and husband can work on your relationship, maybe counseling would help.

Decide, perhaps with your husband, how much you want to/are willing to help your parents, if any. For example, you will continue to pay their bills, and that is all. Or you will arrange for transportation for them when they tell you they have medical appointments. You will visit one day a week and run errands for them at that time. Figure out what seems fair to you regarding taking care of these people you don't even like.

Then tell your parents what you have decided. Stick to it. If you've decided to visit once a week, don't go over there three times, unless there is an emergency. If you've agreed to arrange transportation then don't get cornered into taking them yourself because they forgot to tell you ahead. "Sorry. I guess you'll have to reschedule."

You can see if your sibs are willing to rotate a schedule with you, if you would like that. But you can't really insist on that with them. They have the same right you do to decide how much, if any, they are willing to help your parents.

Your parents need to know how much/little they can count on you for, so they can be realistic in decisions about how much in-home help they need, or about care centers. They do not need to know, in my opinion, why you've decided to limit your help. Nothing would be served to tell mom she is a hypochondriac drama queen and you don't particularly like her. And it should be you that tells them, not your husband.

I am very sorry that you have waited for 22 years for your life to start. When the children leave the nest we all embark on a new phase of our life. But many of us considered the years we devoted to raising children to be an important and meaningful part of our lives, and we also managed to carve out some "me" time and some "us" time with our spouses.

I agree with the other posts. We moved in with my mother-in-law when my sister-in-law died suddenly. We didn't want my MIL to lose her house and her daughter at the same time. After 2 years I am learning to establish my boundaries. You have a right to help as much as you want to help, 0%-100%. Probably somewhere in between. If they need so much help, is it time for them to go to assisted living? I saw my dad devote 15 years of his life to care for his mother. She had Alzheimer's and was not aware of her surrounds for many years. It made me decide I wouldn't put my kids through that, so I am not going provide that level of care my mom or mother-in-law. You have to take care of yourself first or you won't be able to take care of anyone. Put your family first. Build your boundaries and stick with them. As long as your parents aren't in any danger, it won't hurt them to wait for things. In the past, I had a hard time standing up for myself. I don't like conflict. I have to practice what I am going to say to people. I rehearse in front of the mirror. I also let voice-mail take my phone calls so I am not put on the spot. I've learned that the non-caregivers never understand how much work and stress caregivers are under. My mother-in-law loves to tell people how we live with her for free. It makes me want to say, "Just like I care for you for free"

Your parents and your siblings think that because you "don't work" (loud laughter - I've brought up children, I know you work!) your time is theirs for the taking. "All" you have to do is make clear to them that, no, it is not. Your time is yours, then your husband's, then your children's, and only then - assuming you don't want to go back to college or take a job - your parents' (and only if you want it to be).

I put "all" in inverted commas because saying no should be simple - and it isn't. Don't row with your husband about it, ask him to help you say No. I LOVE PS's idea of a shared schedule, great idea - you would have to be ruthless about it with your siblings, though; because when they call and say I have to work late, I have to do a presentation that day, boo-hoo poor me, can you just - … again, you'll need to say NO. I can also (with my nasty suspicious mind) hear your mother saying "oh we don't like to bother John or Jane, he/she's so busy at work…"

Yeah. Well, you're busy with your life too, and your life is just as important.

I don't mean to be harsh on your parents. They do need help, they should be helped. But that doesn't make it your job to look after them, on your tod, at the expense of your marriage, your mental health and your own fulfilment. Harden your heart, and stick to what's fair. Best of luck.

Unplug the phone. Walk away and be sane. They will call your brother or sister. Tell the MD to get them visiting nurses or aides. Recover your strength and commit to 2 regular days a week, for example Tues and Fri, but no more than that. Do not interrupt meals or plans with your family. Only you can save yourself. We split mom's care to save ourselves, each gets two assigned days a week, always the same days. Mom has a chart of who has what days. It cut down the phone calls and we each get a break. It works.

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